Religious Travel: Escorting Tips
So you have planned, organized and packed for your trip, and it’s time to get on the road. But you can’t just jump on the bus blindly. Check out these tips before you board the bus.
Stay on time and stress the concern to all travelers that being on time gives them more shopping opportunities, extra time to see additional museum exhibits, allow for people watch in a corner cafe, and perhaps even time to sleep in! Should you have a tardy traveler, pull them to the side and let them know the importance of staying true to the schedule. Don’t encourage the group to clap when the late member does arrive—this can be embarrassing to the late member and perhaps they have a good reason for being tardy. Respect is important for all travelers to show and receive.
Mix it Up
Rotate seats (at the beginning of your day, not during the travel day) to keep conversation buzzing during travel time. If this isn’t something your group like, allow them to keep the place on the bus seat but mix up the way they get off the motorcoach—door side or driver side first.
Keep the Faith
Keep the spiritual emphasis on your trip as part of each day and allow time for reflections and devotions. If your group is traveling to a location of importance to your faith, onsite devotions are extremely meaningful. Discuss with your guide before hand so that time is set aside. It is rewarding to have the guide come with you for these unique moments but they shouldn’t be “pressured” into staying with you. The guide may need the time to call ahead to the next stop or to relax.
Ambassadors of Faith
Traveling as a faith-based group does come with the responsibility to display your faith to others with your smiles, words, quiet peace and attitude. As you travel with your group sharing your faith does not mean you are looking to “convert” others but do allow them to see the strength of your faith through friendly discourse.
Keep it Light
Allow for lighthearted activities and time for fellowship and bonding between your travelers. Plan for some motorcoach games and activities, perhaps with small teams. Cruising can offer wonderful times for these games and activities for your group. If you want to have a group game night or tournament, contact the cruise ship in advance to have space on board reserved. Keep in mind that down time is needed on any trip.
During the trip, something is bound to happen– a cancelled reservation, weather delay, traffic congestion or human error that otherwise can ruin a great trip. Expect this to happen and act accordingly. Help your travelers to know this is the nature of trip and that unexpected issues can happen and sometimes lead to pleasant surprises. If a cancellation or delay causes a trip interruption, be ready to step in with another option to keep spirits high and things running smoothly. Tour members will watch you and follow your lead. If you are excited or anxious, that sets the tone for the whole group.
Creating a special bond and making everyone realize how valuable they are to the whole of the group will have them ready to sign up for the next tour. Visiting with each travel member for small chats is important. You do not want to show a favorite in the group. As the leader, you want to keep the spirit alive on the motorcoach or cruise ship, airplane or train. You will build on the success of this experience and have it flow right into the next tour.